Schedule Changes: Why can’t I switch?

Counselors attempt to balance student requests with number of seats in each class

Jeanne Mardegan, News Editor, Website Editor

Second semester offers lots of opportunities for change: new electives, spring sports begin, maybe even a different period of English than the fall. However, these changes aren’t always favored by students when they return after winter break. 

Peri Deroche ‘23 entered her first period self-defense class and when she didn’t see anyone she knew, she reached out to her counselor to make a possible switch within the same period, as she had done in the past. Only this time, she couldn’t change her class.

I was not successfully able to switch my schedule,” Deroche said. “My counselor said there were no openings available. Before this attempt, I’ve had no problems trying to switch my schedule.”

Deroche isn’t the only student with a failed attempt to alter her schedule; counselors receive loads of emails within the first few weeks of a new semester from students wishing to try a new teacher or be placed in a different lunch block. Yet, this semester, there appears to be a shift in what changes are being approved and which are being denied.

With COVID-19 came a leniency from the counselors, such as approving a student’s request for a different lunch period. However, in trying to return to the way things were prior, their practice is shifting to how it had originally been: prioritizing student needs over student wants, Division Chair of Counseling and Student Support Services Drew Eder said.

“Our office and school counselors will do everything we can to make sure that students get the courses that they need, that their schedules reflect their goals for post-secondary [life],” Eder said. “However, there’s ‘needs versus wants.’ There’s ‘needs’ students bring to us and we make sure that [those are accommodated for]. There’s also ‘wants’ that we just can’t make happen all the time.” 

Counselors take each request for a change on a case-by-case basis, he said. In talking with students and possibly families, the counseling department at LT is directed to do their best to understand the many aspects of the situation. 

“Every request that we get is unique,” Eder said. “It can’t be a blanket ‘we make lunch changes’ and it’s not a blanket ‘we don’t make lunch changes.’ We have to take each student and understand their need and do the best we can [to fulfill that need].”

Students often overlook that there are two portions to a lunch block: lunch and a study hall, Eder said.

“It feels very easy to say, ‘I just want a different lunch; it isn’t that hard,’” Eder said. “But, there’s a limitation on the number of spots in those study halls. It does get to a point where there aren’t any more spots in a study hall and we can’t put 40 kids in a class. That’s not fair to that teacher. We have to be able to maintain spots in lunch study halls just as we do [in the cafeteria].” 

Conclusive advice for future schedule making: students should communicate with their counselors as early as possible to ensure they take the classes they want.

“Counselors do their very best,” Eder said. “If you’re miserable [about your classes], we’re not going to let you be miserable. We want to work with you, but we also have to ask you to give things a shot [with a new class or lunch].”